By Ginna Parsons/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – When Becky Dorough was 8 or 9 years old, her mother gave her “Betty Crocker’s Cookbook for Boys and Girls” for Christmas.
And the 56-year-old has been whipping up delicious food ever since.
Thumb through the children’s cookbook and you’ll find food stains scattered throughout its pages – especially on the recipes for meatloaf, sugar cookies and lemonade.
“The first salad I ever made from that cookbook was a Sunshine Salad, with lemon Jell-O, pineapple and carrots. I don’t remember ever making it again, but I sure was proud of myself. The first cake I made was a hot fudge cake where you poured boiling water over the top.”
Recently, Dorough’s mother, Nan Rogers of Nettleton, reminded her of a summer when she really honed her kitchen skills.
“I was probably 13 or 14 and I planned and prepared lunch every day for my brother and sister,” said Dorough, a nurse practitioner who specializes in infectious diseases at the North Mississippi Medical Center’s Garfield Clinic. “I’d ride my bike to the store for the ingredients and then come home and fix lunch.”
Dorough still enjoys cooking today, usually preparing meals four or five nights a week for herself and her husband, Tom, whom she met on a blind date. They share three daughters, two grandsons and four dogs.
“If I have had a terrible day at work, if I can chop, that’s all I need,” she said. “The more ingredients, the better. If it’s got 50 ingredients, that’s even better. Cooking relieves all my stress.”
Dorough also likes to cook for the couple’s friends at the Nettleton Fox Hunting and Fishing Club.
“There’s a group of 12 of us and we go there just about every weekend,” she said. “They’re my guinea pigs. I take at least one new recipe each week. Hors d’oeuvres and soups are my favorite things to make. Often, I do them as a meal. Sometimes, we’ll cook on the grill or have a fish-fry. If it’s wintertime, we’ll do a big breakfast.”
Dorough has a Crock-Pot and occasionally she’ll use it to keep her homemade soups warm, but as a general rule, she doesn’t cook in hers.
“Occasionally, I’ll do a roast in one, but I think it needs to be cooked in the oven like my Granny did,” she said. “And I like to make my food pretty. My mother, my grandmother – they never did any garnishes. They just put it on the table. The making it pretty part is all me.”
Do you know a good cook? Send your nominations to Ginna Parsons, Cook of the Week, P.O. Box 909, Tupelo, MS 38802. Or you can fax them to (662) 842-2233 or email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.